HEALTH

Sharper Image signs with HoMedics to build product portfolio

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK One-time specialty retailer The Sharper Image on Monday announced the signing of a $540 million, five-year licensing agreement with HoMedics, a manufacturer of personal health, wellness and relaxation products that will place the Sharper Image brand across a broad range of product categories.

“The Sharper Image is an iconic brand with tremendous positive consumer awareness, and we’re extremely excited about how HoMedics can further boost our leadership in personal health, wellness and relaxation products while remaining true to The Sharper Image brand legacy,” stated Ron Ferber, president of HoMedics. “The agreement will allow us to enter into new categories that will complement our core business and will allow HoMedics to introduce new product innovations with a wider range of price points.”

“We are pleased that the strength of The Sharper Image brand has attracted a licensee of HoMedics’ caliber,” stated Federico de Bellegarde, vice president of licensing at The Sharper Image. “HoMedics is a terrific fit for The Sharper Image brand due to their extensive product development capabilities coupled with their significant relationships in the retail community. HoMedics understands The Sharper Image brand DNA and, with their newly developed products, shall set the standard for our brand objectives.”

HoMedics has been selected as a primary strategic licensee for The Sharper Image brand as it transforms its business model from a retailer to a global lifestyle brand licensor, Shaper Image stated. Under this agreement, HoMedics will offer uniquely featured products in categories including home environment, electronics, men’s personal care, men’s gifts and health and wellness.

In May of this year, a group of private investors purchased The Sharper Image brand and intellectual property and have developed a global licensing strategy for wholesale, e-commerce, catalog and direct-to-retail businesses. This approach will allow The Sharper Image brand to exist outside the confines of its historic core channels and on the shelves of retailers.

HoMedics will introduce their first collection of Sharper Image licensed products at both the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2009 and the International Housewares Show in Chicago in March 2009.

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Aetna, Pfizer put on health fair to help steer families towards healthy habits

BY Jenna Duncan

HARTFORD, Conn. Aetna has teamed with Pfizer to co-sponsor a health fair for families of the greater Hartford area Oct. 18. The fair is free to the public and is aimed at helping families make wise decisions about eating right, exercise and managing their habits for healthy lifestyles.

Aetna and Pfizer said they are teaming up on health in response to the high rate of obesity among people living in Connecticut—more than half are overweight or obese the companies said. And the numbers have nearly doubled in a short time—since 1990.

Michael Hudson, president of Aetna’s Northeast Region, which covers people in Connecticut, said, “Tackling obesity and the serious health issues it can cause is a primary goal of numerous city, state and national civic and health organizations, but too often we are all working in silos. We are proud to be uniting our efforts in Connecticut through this initiative and working with Pfizer and a number of exceptional community partners to bring the message of good health and physical activity to Hartford’s families. We hope this fair will encourage people to make the small but important lifestyle changes necessary to improve their long-term health and well-being.”

The free health event will run rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bushnell Park in Hartford.  

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Senator calls for FDA ban on sale of cough-cold medicines for children under six

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., senior member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and chair of its subcommittee on Children and Families, earlier this week called on the Food and Drug Administration to ban the marketing of children’s cough-cold formulations for children under six even as industry made the announcement they would no longer market use of those medicines to children under four years of age.

“While I’m pleased to see that the drug companies are voluntarily taking some steps to ensure the safety and well being of our children, I am disappointed that the FDA has not followed the recommendations of its own advisory panel,” stated Dodd.  “I strongly urge the FDA to take swift action to ensure the safety and efficacy of these products in young children before one more child is given a medicine that may not only be ineffective but could also be harmful.”

In a letter to FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, Dodd wrote, “Nearly a year has passed since the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and Pediatric Advisory Committee voted 13 to 9 against the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children ages two to six. Another cold and flu season is right around the corner, yet commonly available medical products continue to be marketed and sold to the parents of young children even though they have not been shown to be effective and experts have raised serious questions about their safety.”

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